Lately, I’ve been riding a wave of gratitude that keeps colliding into a shore of impatience. As much as I am filled with immense gratitude for my surroundings — especially my job, my family, and my loved ones, I have been tested by the pinched nerve in my neck to slow down way beyond my neurotic comfort zone. The change of pace is surprisingly invoking a stronger sense of self, knowing that who I am outside of being active is someone I’m proud of. On the flip side of this are unusual cravings, actions and thought patterns. Coming out of an eating disorder and years of focusing fiercely on my image, being more flexible with my pace is shocking my system with an embrace of compassion, acceptance and trust. The waves of gratitude depend on my internal weather — how much sun/love I shine on myself or how much I decide to create mental clouds, blocking my personal potential.
For my organization’s holiday party yesterday, I wore a nice sweater and high heels. I actually enjoying wearing heels from time to time because it 1) reminds me that I can be more than just an athletic girl and 2) it definitely helps me look more professional and with that comes an empowered confidence. Putting on the heels engages another personality in me…one that is ambitious and feels beautiful/sexy, rather than ambitious and wants sweat running down my forehead hanging from a climbing wall. As much as the heels is a fancy up-sale from the norm of yoga pants and nikes, walking to Whole Foods on my lunch break made me realize:
Is it about how you LOOK or how you FEEL?
I understand that our looks are an expression of how we feel, but to what degree? In that moment walking four long blocks along the hills of SF, I looked great but my feet sure didn’t feel great! I walk way too fast to wear those things on a consistent basis. For some people, the focus is more on how they look and I respect that. But for me, yesterday was a reminder that I am more concerned with how I feel and much less about how I look. Whether that’s clothes, food, sleep, exercise, etc, I mostly choose the path to the most comfort and energy. I say ‘mostly’ because I find I’m human and imperfect more than my ego would like to admit.
I’ve always been a bit envious of women who can look so damn good in heels and do it with class. Dressing up is definitely one of those things I have to “fake it till I make it”. But when I woke up this morning, I went right for my bright running shoes. I took off the normal bra, jewelry and threw my black heels in the back of my closet. I put on a sports bra, my lucy pants, and laced up my teal Asics. Noticing the switch in my internal energy, I was affirmed by the reality that we cannot force things in our life. We each have our own unique style and the moment we pretend we are someone different, we start to feel imbalance (or sore feet!). We have to wear the shoe that fits, step into each day based on how we feel, and keep trying things out until we find those things that make us feel so good, we look good doin’ it. There’s the combo!
And when I walked into work this morning and found a bunch of organic kale lying on my desk (THANK YOU Secret Santa), I literally jumped, and maybe did a little dance, for joy. Again, it is those foods like kale, rather than the holiday sweets, that don’t exactly look as good, but they make me feel fabulous!
The whole concept of experimenting and ‘trying shoes on’ until we find the right one is where my impatience comes in to play. I have abundant gratitude for the wonderful circumstances that have molded together my current lifestyle. But when I look at my internal relationship and character, I find more negative messages, pressures, demands, expectations, fears — or fill in the blank, there are plenty of suspects here. For years, I wanted the right shoe from the get-go…I didn’t have time to shop around! I’m now learning that I have to accept the fact that I have to shop around, make the wrong decision sometimes and to keep bargaining with myself to find the best deal. I can tell you right now, it is not going to be heels!
At the end of the day, we take off our shoes and our feet bare the naked truth. The external accessories are gone and we have no shield to how we feel. I am beginning to deeply understand that my attitude drives my daily thoughts, actions, words and then cycles back to the level of energy I have and how I choose my attitude the next day. Just like the weather, our feelings are cyclical. And ultimately, instead of pushing the impatience away, maybe by opening to the vulnerability of imperfection, having both gratitude and impatience in the closet, I can wear each depending on the styleI want to sport. In this city of professionals, hippies, athletes, and various cultural backgrounds — the only one really judging my shoes is ME! So I am choosing to let the gratitude continue to crash onto the shore of impatience, letting nature take its course and letting myself be more exposed to admitting I don’t always do it right, but I try my hardest and I do it with love…AND, I love kale and bright teal running shoes!!
*lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu*